Libs Dems are ‘antidote to extremism’ as Sarah Olney prepares for battle to reclaim Richmond Park seat
Just under two and a half years ago, Sarah Olney – the Liberal Democrat candidate for Richmond Park – was just a hair’s breadth away from a return to Parliament.
After a competitive election campaign with Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith, Mrs Olney lost the seat by just 45 votes – the seventh smallest margin out of all of 2017’s electoral results.
She had been elected to parliament just six months before in the by-election that Mr Goldsmith created after he resigned as an MP following his disapproval of the third Heathrow runway plans.
“It was really disappointing,” said the 42-year-old former accountant. “I’d felt like I’d only just got going as an MP and there was still so much that I wanted to do and didn’t get to achieve.
“There’s also a real battle of values here. We lost by such a small amount and to somebody who was such an ardent Brexiteer who didn’t really reflect the values of those he represented.
“For Zac Goldsmith to go to Parliament instead of me was agonising. I’m certainly much closer to the mood of most of the local residents as far as Brexit is concerned than he is.”
She added: “I think we are the party that represents the moderate, the centre and the pragmatic. We are the antidote to extremism.
“One of the reasons I’m fighting so hard in this election is because I want there to be a really strong cohort of Liberal Democrat MPs in the next parliament and for us to be really influential in the next government.
“That’s the country’s best hope of having a moderate, sensible and pragmatic government and I don’t think that can happen under a Labour or a Tory government.”